Monday, July 16, 2012

{Review} Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I've Lost My Damn Mind: A Manic's Mood Chart by Derek Thompson

ISBN #: 978-1467935234
Page Count: 228
Copyright: January 27, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace

(Taken from Amazon)

I figure that if I have to endure the worst parts of bipolar disorder, like psychosis, I get to laugh as much as possible along the way. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I've Lost My Damn Mind: A Manic's Mood Chart is the story of one Millennial's bipolar life, with moments ranging from the ridiculous to the terrifying to the hilarious. Blending pop culture references and cyberspeak with psychiatric terms, it combines the funny, conversational tone of Sh*t My Dad Says with a nonlinear narrative structure similar to that of Manic.

The book began as a blog: if you had a delusional relationship with Britney Spears, wouldn't you brag about it to the entire world? To create the book, I organized the blog entries like a mood chart, a therapeutic tool which assigns colors to states to mind. The entries are divided into three sections, Depressed, Normal and Elevated, and cover the past three years: my psych ward getaways, my vision of fighting alongside Jesus at Armageddon, my attempts to find a woman who accepts that I sometimes lose my mind. Therapy "sessions" with a fictional psychiatrist provide my present-day reflections on each entry. (I had to create my ideal shrink because I tend to fight with the real ones.)

Charlene's Review:

Have to say, this is not what I expected. What a shamelessly, often juvenile but immensely entertaining book on a "taboo" subject. Mr. Thompson (I almost scoff at calling him Mr. because I feel like I know him too well, now) opens his soul to show us the sensitivities and hardship of living with this oft-understood mood disorder. (I didn't say "disease," Derek. Lesson learned.)

While there were the occasional rambling thoughts, of which I fortunately (unfortunately?) could follow, this is an amazing book that anyone affected by Bipolar Manic Depression should read.

In attempting to give the reader insight into mania:

"It seems to me that being in a manic episode and then trying to describe this to someone who hasn't had one would compare to trying to describe the sunset to someone who can't see it; it's just something you need to experience."

Or likening the highs and lows of Bipolar Manic Depression to a roller coaster ride, gone wrong:

"We are sorry to inform the riders that the brakes on this ride have malfunctioned and there is unfortunately no way for us to control the roller coaster. Good luck, and we'll be pulling for you."

This is not your everyday memoir about a struggle with "illness" but a glimpse inside an actual life/death struggle for "normalcy." Filled with sarcastic, laugh-out-loud humor, and down-to-the-bone openness, Mr. Thompson has written an eloquent manual for living with Bipolar Mood Disorder. He is a testament to "survivor" and I wish him luck in his future, and hopefully, on his next book. The BMD world needs this kind of dialogue.

*A physical copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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